Home gardening as a mitigation measure for food security of HIV/AIDS affected households in Mpophomeni Township, South Africa.
Makwangudze, Kudzai Esther.
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HIV/AIDS has depleted the livelihood assets of many households and as such caused them to sink deeper into poverty. Due to the socio-economic impact of the epidemic, communities on their own or facilitated by outside agencies are coming up with mitigation strategies to minimise the impact. Home gardening is one activity being used by government and non-governmental organisations to create self-reliance and independency among affected households. This study examined the impact of home gardening on the food security status of HIV/AIDS affected households in the Mpophomeni Township of KwaZulu-Natal. A survey was conducted among 23 home gardeners and 10 representative households without home gardens. Data was collected using a questionnaire, focus group discussions and through interviews with key informants. Using the Household Food Insecurity Access Scale (HFIAS), 4.3% were food secure, 21.7% were mildly food insecure, 39.1% were moderately food insecure while 34.8 were severely food insecure among households with home gardens. The severely food insecure household were those who often would go for a day without eating, go to bed hungry or run out of food for more than ten days a month. A regression was used to determine the factors influencing the HFIAS score. The results of the analysis show that out of the six variables included in the regression model, five variables were statistically significant. These are level of education of the head of household, size of household, household monthly income, monthly food expenditure and participation in home gardening. The age of the head of household showed no significance in affecting the HFIAS score. T-tests were used to compare the food consumption score (FCS) and HFIAS score means of home gardeners and non-gardeners and there was no significant difference between their means for both scores. This implied that home gardens are not making a significant impact on the consumption score and food security status of home gardeners. Limited home garden sizes and vagaries of nature such as hailstorms, frost, pest and diseases were identified as factors limiting productivity of home gardens. The study recommended that the use of appropriate crop production methods such as improved seeds, inorganic and organic fertilisers and adequate pest and disease control will improve home garden productivity.
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